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Cancer treatment for people with  mutations

People with an inherited  mutation who have been diagnosed with cancer may have different treatment options than people without a mutation. To learn more about standard of care treatment options for specific types of cancer, visit our section on Cancer Treatment by Cancer Type

If you have an inherited mutation, have been diagnosed with cancer and any of the situations below apply to you, you may want to speak to your doctor about your medical options. You may also consider enrolling in a clinical trial studying which treatments work best for people with an inherited  mutation. Regardless of cancer type, people with a mutation may benefit from testing and may qualify for clinical trials looking for more effective treatments for cancer.  

Note that when we use "men" and "women" we are referring to the sex you were assigned at birth.

PARP inhibitors

PARP inhibitors are a type of that work by blocking a protein used to repair damaged . They were initially developed to treat cancers in people with an inherited  or  mutation. Since then, research and additional approvals have expanded use of PARP inhibitors to more situations. People with a  mutation who have been diagnosed with cancer may want to ask their doctor about  therapy. 

prostate cancer

The PARP inhibitors, Lynparza () and () have received  approval to treat , in people with a or other gene linked to a certain type of damage repair. 

PARP inhibitors for advanced ovarian, or primary peritoneal cancer

Several PARP inhibitors have been approved to treat ovarian cancers at different stages of the disease. In some situations, a tumor known as an  test ("hemologous recombination deficiency") can help people with an inherited  mutation and advanced ovarian cancer learn if they may benefit from a 

  • after treatment
    • testing can help women with an inherited  mutation and advanced ovarian cancer learn if they may benefit from the Lynparza?() in combination with bevacizumab as  after platinum chemotherapy.
    •  is approved for  in women with advanced ovarian, , or primary peritoneal cancer who had a complete or partial response to platinum-based chemotherapy. for does not require an test. 
  • after treatment of recurrent cancer
    • and () are both approved for maintenance therapy in women with recurrent epithelial ovarian, , or primary peritoneal cancer who are in a complete or partial response to platinum based chemotherapy.

PARP inhibitors for pancreatic cancer

Although PARP inhibitors have not specifically received approval to treat panceratic cancer in people with mutations, the American Society of Medical Genetics released a paper suggesting that people with  mutations and cancer should be considered for the same treatments and clinical trials as people with a or mutation. The  Lynparza is  approved for maintenance treatment of pancreatic cancer in people with a mutation whose disease has not progressed after completing  platinum-based chemotherapy.

PARP inhibitors for breast cancer

Although PARP inhibitors have not specifically received approval to treat breast cancer in people with mutations, the American Society of Medical Genetics released a paper suggesting that people with  mutations and cancer should be considered for the same treatments and clinical trials as people with a or mutation. Below are guidelines for PARP inhibitors for treating breast cancer in people with a or mutation. 

  • Treatment for breast cancer: The PARP inhibitors, Lynparza (also known as ) and (also known as ) both have received approval for treating breast cancer caused by a  mutation.
  • Treatment for breast cancer: Based on results from a large clinical trial, experts recommend one year of the   for people with  breast cancer who have an inherited  mutation and who are at high risk for recurrence.

PARP inhibitors for other advanced cancers with no treatment options

If you have a mutation and advanced cancer that no longer responds to standard therapy, you may want to talk with your doctor about whether you might benefit from treatment with a

Breast cancer surgical decisions 

Because of the very high risk for a second breast cancer diagnosis, women who are diagnosed with breast cancer who test positive for an in often choose  mastectomy rather than and radiation. Mutation carriers who undergo mastectomy are less likely to develop a second breast cancer. 

Unlike women, the risk for a second breast cancer diagnosis in men with a mutation is low. For this reason, mastectomy may not be recommended. 

Last updated January 01, 2024

Get Support
Get Support

FORCE offers many peer support programs for people with inherited mutations. 

updated: 08/06/2022

Paying For Care
Paying For Care

Paying for cancer treatment

The majority of public and private health insurance plans are required to cover cancer diagnosis and treatment; copays, coinsurance and deductibles often apply. Patient costs and coverage for specific doctors, facilities or treatments may vary based on your health plan. Visit our section on Insurance and Paying for Care: Treatment  for more information, links to sample appeal letters and other resources. 

If you need information about finding an insurance plan, watch our video: Choosing Wisely: How to Pick Insurance Plans.

Some pharmaceutical companies have assistance programs that help cover the cost for their medications: 

Organizations that offer co-pay assistance:

Other resources:

  • The American Cancer Society provides information and resources on covering the cost of cancer care. Public assistance, such as Medicaid may be available if you are ineligible for other programs. 
  • Needy Meds: Assistance programs to help patients with cost of medications and other healthcare.
  • Triage Cancer offers tools and resources to help individuals cope with the financial aspects of a cancer diagnosis.

updated: 02/10/2023

Open Clinical Trials
Open Clinical Trials

The following are treatment studies enrolling people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer:

The following are vaccine studies enrolling people with pancreatic cancer:

  • NCT05111353: Neoantigen Vaccines in Pancreatic Cancer in the Window Prior to Surgery. This study will look at the safety of an neoantigen vaccines in pancreatic cancer patients following chemotherapy. Participants will be placed in one of two groups. Group 1 will receive the vaccine following chemotherapy and surgery. Group 2 will receive the vaccine after  chemotherapy and before surgery.

Other clinical trials for people with pancreatic cancer can be found here.

updated: 08/15/2023

Open Clinical Trials
Open Clinical Trials

The following are studies looking at treatment for cancer in people with muations: 

Advanced

Advanced breast cancer

A number of other clinical trials for treating patients with breast cancer can be found here.

breast cancer

A number of other clinical trials for treating patients with  breast cancer can be found here.

Pancreatic cancer

The following are studies enrolling people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer:

A number of other clinical trials for people with pancreatic cancer can be found here.

updated: 03/22/2023